“Cut a penny in half and keep on cutting!”
You’ve seen these demonstrations: a salesperson gets a pair of super scissors, grabs a penny, and cuts it in half. In and of itself that’s not too impressive: pennies are pretty soft and most heavy-duty scissors could get through them.
The real trick comes next: taking those same scissors and cutting something like tissue. When I saw the salesperson do that…well, that got my attention.
Seeing we were watching, the salesperson pulled out a tomato, piece of cheese, and various other foods. He then demonstrated one by one how each knife was superior to any other knife on the market.
Trying them out for myself and seeing the incredible design of these knives made me a believer. That was the day we walked out of Costco with “the last set of knives you’ll ever own”: Cutco knives.
My point here is not to get you to buy Cutco knives—that’s your business. But one point of safe food preparation is sharp knives. A sharp knife is a safe knife. When we saw through our food with dull knives, we’ll use too much pressure. Eventually, that knife will slip and we’ll hurt ourselves.
Cooking in the kitchen can be a lot like life: there’s wise work and there’s foolish work. Solomon writes it this way in Ecclesiastes 10:8-11:
8 Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. 9 Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them. 10 If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success. 11 If a snake bites before it is charmed, the charmer receives no fee.
King Solomon is not knocking hard work and saying it’s a waste of time. Nor is he writing off life to fate and circumstance. Instead, he’s talking about wisdom versus foolishness in the everyday reality of life. He’s talking about where theology meets life (yes, it was from this passage I named my blog!).
Whether digging a hole or demolishing something, whether cutting rocks or splitting logs, if we don’t take the proper precautions we’ll eventually get hurt. Just like with our cutlery in the kitchen.
A mentor of mine would often encourage me in my ongoing continuing education, “Remember, Joel: you can chop a lot more wood with a sharp ax.” He’s right. When I quote him, I add this to it: you’re also safer.
In our life with Jesus, we are called to be wise by accepting His wisdom. His wisdom doesn’t make us better than other people; the Lord’s wisdom makes us better than ourselves.
Left to our own devices, we’ll hack away at life with dull axes and complain at how much time, energy, and sanity we’re wasting. The Lord, however, steps in and provides a way to “sharpen our ax”.
How can you sharpen the cutlery of your life? Here are three suggestions:
- Read a chapter of Proverbs every day.
- Pray daily for the Lord to give you wisdom.
- Cultivate the relationships you already have with those who are already working with the Lord’s wisdom.
Sharpening the cutlery of our spiritual lives will have tangible effects in our day-to-day. Growing in our faith in the Lord isn’t an aloof, distant, intangible process separated from Monday-Friday. Instead, it sharpens us and makes us more effective in everything we do because we bear His Name and carry His reputation.